With its understated elegance and timeless design, the Calatrava is Patek Philippe’s flagship model. Introduced in 1932 as the Ref. 96, it was inspired by Bauhaus principles and is the epitome of the classic round wristwatch. With all the commotion over Patek’s announcement that the olive-green-dialled Nautilus would be the last of its coveted Ref. 5711/1A, you might well have missed the “quieter” comeback of a grand classic with the release of the Calatrava “Clous de Paris” refs. 6119R-001 and 6119G-001.
With secondary-market sellers asking at least five times the original recommended retail price, the stainless-steel 5711 was a sound investment. Patek is highly regarded for its superior quality and technical and design prowess, which means that every watch has to pass the strictest quality directives. This adds extra time to the production process and limits the annual output, making each Patek even more desirable.
Past Calatrava models attracting the most attention among collectors have been those with the guilloched hobnail patterns (Clous de Paris) on their bezels. This small, pyramid-tipped motif first appeared in 1934 on the Calatrava Ref. 96D. With its new references, Patek has “returned to the roots of the Calatrava design vocabulary”. While the manufacture has given the iconic design a makeover with a slightly larger 39mm case diameter, it also pays tribute to two popular models: the legendary Ref. 3919, which debuted in 1985, featuring the manually wound calibre 215 PS, subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock, white dial with black lacquered Roman numerals, and straight lugs; and the Ref. 5119, a reissue of the Ref. 3919 from 2006.
The new models come in 18kt white gold with a charcoal-grey dial (6119G-001) or an 18kt rose gold with silvery grained dial (6119R-001), on alligator-leather straps. The straight lugs of the Ref. 3919 are replaced with curved lugs inspired by the Ref. 96, ensuring a comfortable fit, while the tittles of the 18kt gold “obus” markers punctuate the railway-track minute scale on the periphery of the dial. Gold dauphine hour and minute hands feature three, instead of two, facets per hand. Inside the slender cases is the new manually wound calibre 30-255 PS with a 65-hour power reserve and accuracy of -3/+2 seconds in 24 hours. The beautifully presented calibre is on display through the sapphire-crystal case back.
POA, patek.com or Patek Philippe Boutique 011 784 2595
• From the March edition of Wanted, 2022.